Matisse donation 'generous and unexpected'

By MORGAN TAIT

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The family of chronically ill Napier girl Matisse Reid were not expecting a $100,000 donation from a dispute between celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and a major New Zealand promoter.

The donation came as part of a mutually agreeable out-of-court settlement yesterday between the Hell's Kitchen star and Auckland's Duco Events, in lieu of a $2.1 million law suit after Mr Ramsay's last-minute cancellation of charity dinners in 2010.

The sold-out Auckland and Wellington events were to raise money for an organ transplant for Matisse, 11, who has been receiving costly life-saving medical treatment in Pittsburgh, US, for the past five years.

Speaking from Pittsburgh, Matisse's mother Jodee Reid said the donation was generous and unexpected.

"We just want it known that we are very grateful to Gordon Ramsay and David Higgins from Duco Events because this is a joint donation from both of them.

"Both of them had a lot of empathy for our situation and neither David nor Gordon really dragged us into the situation.

"They were very mindful that the situation we are dealing with is life and death and they are dealing with business stuff, so we would like it known that we are really grateful to them for keeping us out of it and for their very generous donation," Mrs Reid said.

Matisse had her organ transplant in late 2010 but her mother said it was not a cure and the money would be put in a trust for future medical needs.

"Matisse has not been cured, we are not sure whether she'll need another transplant in the future so the money will be set aside in case we would need it for her," Mrs Reid said.

A joint statement from Duco Events and Mr Ramsay said the donation was part of a mutual settlement.

"The parties have reached a mutually agreeable financial settlement, including a donation of $100,000 to Matisse Reid and the trust Chance2Eat.

"Further, Duco Events and Gordon Ramsay are committed to working together in 2013 ... "

Matisse's Napier-based grandfather, John Hands, said it was a relief the matter did not make it to the courtroom.

"We are just very pleased that there has been a result and we are just happy for them that it was resolved in an amicable manner," Mr Hands said. "It's just great for everybody."

The chef arrived in the country on Sunday and made a number of publicity appearances in Auckland, most notably at the upmarket department store Smith and Caughey's for the launch of his new cookware brand.

Mrs Reid said it was still unknown when Matisse would be well enough to move back home to Hawke's Bay.

"We are talking to some of Matisse's doctors in New Zealand but we don't have a date or anything as of yet."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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